Eminem's faithful followers have been fuming this week, believing teenage TikTok users are "trying to cancel Eminem." The rapper's long history of controversial lyrics — from bigotry to threats of violence to fantasy descriptions of domestic battery — has been well-documented. Still, his fans just can't stand at the thought of a new generation trying to destroy his legacy.
Eminem has been "canceled" several times in the current sense of the word, but it has never truly affected his popularity or his bottom line. The same will likely be true when the dust settles on the current fad, where young TikTok users identifying as "Gen Z" are criticizing him. In many cases, the videos seem to be purposefully ironic, but they must have fooled defensive Eminem fans who do not want to re-litigate the rapper's most offensive lyrics.
I wanna cancel eminem out of spite now pic.twitter.com/IehdeXCvH5— bisexual tanjiro (@chairn0izes) March 2, 2021
Eminem has made waves since his very earliest musical releases, which took a shock-jock approach to gain attention. In 1997 his first major studio album, The Slim Shady LP, featured the song "'97 Bonnie and Clyde," where he narrated his fantasy of murdering his wife and having his toddler-aged daughter help him hide her corpse. The follow-up, 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, featured "Kim," an even more violent fantasy about murdering his wife in real-time.
The controversies are by no means restricted to his earlier work, either. Even in his most recent releases, domestic violence remains a constant theme in Eminem's lyrics, and homophobic and ableist slurs persist as well.
Some of Eminem's defenders tried to frame these controversies in the past tense, but many others simply said that controversy was a part of his brand, and could not be taken too seriously. Throughout all these online discussions it was hard to judge who was serious and who being ironic. Scroll down to see the latest debates about Eminem's lyrics for yourself.
Does she not remember when WE tried to cancel Eminem as well? His entire career kind of depends on having "haters" and whatnot. We're all just trying to fuel his next project lol— Olympus has fallen and it can't get up (@AndySunshine) March 2, 2021
Eminem once said:— Tina (@Tina_Shadyy) March 2, 2021
"I can't understand a word you say (I'm tone-deaf)
I think this way I prefer to stay (I'm tone-deaf)
I won't stop even when my hair turns grey (I'm tone-deaf)
'Cause they won't stop until they cancel me" pic.twitter.com/9OyeDvTwZD
For better or worse, many users argued that Eminem thrives in a state of constant cancellation, and has done so since the 1990s. Any attempt to "cancel" him cannot be taken genuinely, by their logic, since it will only fuel his defenders and his personal narrative.prevnext
and still eminem outsold his whole discography with the worst album he dropped in his career in 2017 lol— macthonystantano (@macthonystanta1) March 2, 2021
Many users brought up the views other celebrities — particularly rappers — have of Eminem, holding them up as evidence of his cancellation status. Defenders then compared those stars' record sales and other metrics to that of Eminem.prevnext
THE SECOND HAND EMBARRASSMENT I GOT https://t.co/oZIoW0oMIy— ✿ - ruby (@rubyflamezz) March 2, 2021
Others did not argue with Eminem defenders, but pitied them, saying there was "second-hand embarrassment" involved.prevnext
Yall trying to cancel Eminem forget that you definitely listened to at least one of his tracks growing up. He made it through multiple rap eras and now yall wanna bring back his old lyrics? 😂😂 the 🐐 lives rent free in yalls heads.— James-Extend Justin Simmons (@XJimboJxx) March 2, 2021
Gen Z should know by now that some people are above cancelling. Media been trying to cancel Eminem long before cancelling was a thing. He came out in '99 and his first words were "Hi kids, do you like violence" nd still enjoyed 22 years in the game. That's who you want to cancel? pic.twitter.com/d5t9wcFZd6— Ephraim (@EphraimTalker) March 2, 2021
Some Eminem defenders pointed out his longevity in the music industry, citing that as an accomplishment in and of itself. Detractors pointed to other rap music sensations who have done the same, with less controversy along the way.prevnext
this is why we need to cancel eminem pic.twitter.com/mr73J81Hcy— cummunist (@_novakaine) March 2, 2021
Ignoring his problematic moments, some joked that Eminem should be "canceled" for his worst lyrics. Fans and detractors alike had fun sharing their least favorite lines from Eminem songs and freestyles.prevnext
People want to cancel Eminem?
For song lyrics? 💀😂
Why?— Maria Rose (@mareea_rose) March 1, 2021
Some users defended Eminem's most outrageous lyrics as nothing more than words, and argued that they should not be taken so seriously.prevnext
as a millennial who has tried and failed to cancel Eminem I wish gen z the best of luck <3— a little unstimulating (@softbutchicon) March 2, 2021
Aside from being unbelievably cringe, this ignores the fact that we millennials ALSO tried to "cancel" Eminem, insofar as that means anything (it doesn't). https://t.co/Q3kC351Qy2— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) March 2, 2021
Finally, many users wish Gen Z at large good luck in successfully canceling Eminem, warning that others had tried and failed. Still, they thought maybe the new generation could pull it off. However, at the time of this writing, Eminem has not lost any record deals or sponsorships over this latest retroactive cancellation campaign.prev